Susan G. Komen® Announces More Than $10M in Grants Advancing Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatment and Precision Medicine

New Grants Support Next-Generation Leaders on Their Paths to Independent Research Careers

DALLAS--()--Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, today announced $10.05 million in research grants that aim to improve patient lives through better treatments for metastatic disease and advancements in precision medicine. The 32 grants will further cutting-edge breast cancer research being done at 27 prestigious institutions worldwide and continue Komen’s longstanding support of breast cancer researchers early in their careers, as well as the world’s leaders in the field.

“Susan G. Komen’s work is not complete until we can save all lives from breast cancer, and the research we’re funding today is helping people with breast cancer to live longer with better outcomes,” said Paula Schneider, president and CEO of Komen, and a breast cancer survivor. “Komen’s grants will give promising scientists who are in pivotal stages of their careers the support they need to become the next generation of breast cancer leaders and advance research to save more lives.”

Komen is providing its first Career Transition Award grants this year to support and maintain talented breast cancer researchers by helping senior postdoctoral fellows and clinical fellows working under mentors to launch competitive, independent breast cancer research careers. Komen is also continuing the ASPIRE grant, which was introduced last year, to support research trainees from historically marginalized communities in research to help build a breast cancer research workforce that reflects the diverse communities Komen serves.

“This critical investment underscores Komen’s commitment to supporting cutting-edge research and innovative science that will lead to new treatment options for breast cancer, including metastatic breast cancer and other aggressive forms of the disease, and advance personalized breast cancer care, all with the goal of helping people live longer, better lives,” said Ann Partridge, MD, MPH, Chief Scientific Advisor for Komen.

Dr. Partridge is the Eric P. Winer, M.D., Chair in Breast Cancer Research, Vice Chair of the Department of Medical Oncology, Director of the Adult Survivorship Program and Director of the Program for Young Women with Breast Cancer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Key Highlights of the $10.05 Million Investment:

  • 71% Dedicated to Metastatic and Aggressive Breast Cancer Research, addressing the most advanced form of breast cancer that is responsible for more than 40,000 breast cancer deaths every year. Metastatic breast cancer has no cure, and these grants focus on understanding the underlying biology and developing new ways to detect and treat metastatic and aggressive breast cancers to extend and maintain quality of life.
  • 65% Focused on Precision Medicine, also known as personalized medicine, which aims to tailor treatments specifically to individual patients and their unique tumors. Precision medicine aims to give patients treatments they’re most likely to benefit from, avoiding unnecessary treatment and improving outcomes.

With this year’s grants, Komen has now invested nearly $1.1 billion in critical, cutting-edge breast cancer research, making it the largest nonprofit funder of breast cancer research outside of the U.S. government.

"Supporting outstanding researchers is not just an investment, it is a lifeline for the future,” said Jennifer A. Pietenpol, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Advisor at Komen. “Komen's unwavering commitment to funding the best and brightest breast cancer researchers, especially in the crucial early stages of their careers, will ensure we have an exceptional team for generations to come."

Pietenpol is the Chief Scientific and Strategy Officer and Executive Vice President for Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and Professor of Biochemistry at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine.

Recipients of ASPIRE Grants: A Supplement to Promote Inclusion for Research Excellence

Eran Andrechek (Principal Investigator), Jesus Garcia-Lerena (Trainee), Michigan State University
Paula Bos (Principal Investigator), Ailen Garcia-Santillan (Trainee), Virginia Commonwealth University
Eida Castro (Principal Investigator), Lianel Rosario (Trainee), Ponce Medical School Foundation, Inc.
Isaac Chan (Principal Investigator), Isabella Terrazas (Trainee), The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Suranganie Dharmawardhane (Principal Investigator), Ailed Cruz-Collazo (Trainee), University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus
Stephanie Fraley (Principal Investigator), Maya Rowell, (Trainee), University of California, San Diego
Aimilia Gastounioti (Principal Investigator), Juanita Hernandez (Trainee), Washington University in St. Louis
Christy Hagan (Principal Investigator), Julio Tinoco (Trainee), University of Kansas Medical Center Research Institute, Inc.
Kevin Janes (Principal Investigator), Catalina Alvarez Yela (Trainee), University of Virginia
Anne Marie McCarthy (Principal Investigator), Mattia Mah’Moud (Trainee), University of Pennsylvania
Heather Neuman (Principal Investigator), Faith Dickerson (Trainee), University of Wisconsin-Madison
Julie Palmer (Principal Investigator), Etienne Holder (Trainee), Boston University
Weston Porter (Principal Investigator), Hannah Carter (Trainee), Texas A&M AgriLife Research
Jeffrey Rosen (Principal Investigator), Alex Smith (Trainee), Baylor College of Medicine
Sohail Tavazoie (Principal Investigator), King Faisal Yambire (Trainee), The Rockefeller University
Hai Wang (Principal Investigator), Cheyenne Ernst (Trainee), Roswell Park Alliance Foundation
Alana Welm (Principal Investigator), Zannel Blanchard (Trainee), The University of Utah

Recipients of Career Transition Awards

Moriah Bellissimo, Virginia Commonwealth University
Kristen Brantley, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Douglas B. Fox, Massachusetts General Hospital
Siting Gan, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Emanuela Marchese, Massachusetts General Hospital
Long Chi Nguyen, The University of Chicago
Purab Pal, University of Illinois at Chicago
Nolan Priedigkeit, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Yifan Wang, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Jun Nishida, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Recipients of Big Data For Breast Cancer Grants

Xin Lu, University of Notre Dame
Harikrishna Nakshatri, Indiana University

Recipients of Leadership Grants

Lisa Coussens, Oregon Health & Science University
Christina Curtis, Stanford University
Melissa Troester, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Visit Komen’s website to learn more about this year’s research grants and recipients.

About Susan G. Komen®

Susan G. Komen® is the world’s leading nonprofit breast cancer organization, working to save lives and end breast cancer forever. Komen has an unmatched, comprehensive 360-degree approach to fighting this disease across all fronts and supporting millions of people in the U.S. and in countries worldwide. We advocate for patients, drive research breakthroughs, improve access to high-quality care, offer direct patient support and empower people with trustworthy information. Founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy’s life, Komen remains committed to supporting those affected by breast cancer today, while tirelessly searching for tomorrow’s cures. Visit or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at


Amanda DeBard
Susan G. Komen
(972) 701-2131


Amanda DeBard
Susan G. Komen
(972) 701-2131